Ifeoma Monye: ‘You can only be original when you find your life’s purpose.’

Ifeoma Monye is a seasoned strategist, project execution, and operations management specialist with over 20 years of experience. She is an expert at guiding organisations and individuals in articulating their visions and building efficient processes and systems to drive optimal performance by providing them with the necessary tools to build sustainable institutions and legacies.

She is a Partner at Ciuci Consulting – a management consulting and operations management firm that specializes in the optimization of business operations through innovative strategies and consumer intelligence, with a focus on socio-economic impact. She is responsible for Ciuci’s entire business operations and has led Ciuci’s system and process improvement initiatives and carried out strategic and supervisory inputs on projects. Ciuci currently operates a 200-bed Specialist Hospital on behalf of the State government. Ifeoma is also the CO-CEO, Strategy, and Operations of the Lufodo Group, founded by Mr. Olu Jacobs and Ms. Joke Silva, where she leads the strategic organizational support and business advisory functions. Lufodo Productions, one of the companies in the group is the current concessionaire of the prestigious Glover Memorial Hall,
a historical landmark and one of the oldest theatre halls in Nigeria.

Read our Q&A with her and be inspired.

Tell us about the International Women’s Society, Nigeria (IWS)

IWS was founded in 1957 in Lagos by a group of international public-spirited women to help the less privileged and advance the causes of women and children. As a result of IWS’ focus on development and empowerment, over 5,000 students have been trained in our Day Nursery and Skills Acquisition Center, and approximately 2,500 widows have been empowered in various vocations.  We have been able to do this with donations from philanthropic individuals and organizations.

Our 5 main projects are The Day Nursery, Yaba set up in 1961 to meet the needs of the underserved. IWS provides partial and fully subsidized basic education for children aged 4 months to 7 years and has had over 5,500 children graduate from our school. Our Scholarships Program started in 1982 and provides scholarships to deserving girls, from primary through tertiary. Over 1,600 students have benefitted so far. The Widows Trust Fund was set up in 1999 to assist widows fend for themselves and their young dependents. They are taught skills of their choice and then set up in business. We visit, mentor, and keep a record of their progress and sometimes give their children scholarships. Well over 2,500 lives have been touched through this initiative.  We have our Social Services under which we set up the IWS Home for Abandoned Children in 2010 in Ijebu Ode to help the plight of abandoned babies and children. In 2022 all the children in our home were adopted or placed in permanent homes. Our Skills Acquisition Center located on the Lekki-Jakande Expressway was established in 1998. It is a fully equipped training school that is NABTEB-certified. The Center has graduated over 2,800 people since its establishment. 

How has being the president of the International Women Society, Nigeria impacted you positively?

I have grown tremendously in ways I could not imagine.  Being relatively young and having to lead stakeholders of diverse backgrounds and age groups, I have had to rapidly improve my people management capabilities, leveraging youthful swiftness and the wisdom of the experienced.

Getting a diverse group of women to be on the same page and work together despite our differences to achieve a common goal has been a requirement I identified early on. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff and stay focused on what’s most important, remembering what the goal is despite distractions.

Did you and do you have mentors that have guided you in your career? 

Yes, I have had one for over 15 years, even before it was cool, lol.  I chose her because I saw her as a no-nonsense person who would keep me accountable.  There is no major life decision I have made that I have not consulted her about, I even took my then fiancé (now husband) to meet her so she could confirm I was making the right decision.

One of the many things I’ve learned from Mrs. Adesola is that having a strong support system is essential if you want to have a career and a family.

How do you motivate yourself to show up daily and get things done?

By remembering what my goals are, which are impact-oriented and why I’m doing it- to positively impact generations, I can show up.  

I have understood what my strengths and weaknesses are and have created a support system that ensures I effectively achieve my goals. I’m a strategist, a planner, and an organizer, that’s me! So, for me I’ve learned that I can’t do it all, I have to say no to things that don’t align with my goals. I know my limitations, so I set realistic goals that also ensure I am living a life of balance.  

My ability to create systems that help people achieve their goals is what I have converted into “The Pretty Balancing Act”, a platform that helps professional women be the best they can be while raising families and excelling in their careers. I have a booklet that helps women come up with their vision and goals and helps them create schedules that align with both.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you so far?

You can only be original when you find your life’s purpose.

If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you offer your younger self?  Don’t worry, God has you in His hands so no need to over-process.  Be more confident in yourself and your gift. Being different is a good thing, own your uniqueness. Worry more about doing the right thing rather than what people will think.

What’s your take on “Women supporting Women”?

It is important women support women.  We need to be there for one another, and share our stories and experiences so other women know they are not alone.  By women supporting women, we can help change the wrong narrative that we are superwomen. We need to be vulnerable with a safe group of women who can also open up and say how they were able to overcome their own challenges.  By women supporting women, the workplace will be a better place.

Time Travel or Teleportation?  Teleportation

Ifeoma Monye is passionate about the holistic wellness of women. Her desire to support the modern professional woman be her most authentic self, led her to establish ‘The Pretty Balancing Act’, a platform to support professional women achieve both a happy home and a successful career.

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